RUGER RED LABEL REVIEW

The American-made Red Label over-under shotgun, which was unceremoniously dropped from the company catalog, is back now, completely re-engineered and more affordable than ever. And it’s still made here in the United States.

 

In 1977, a BMW 320i cost $7,990. The average home was $49,000 and a gallon of gas was 65 cents. The Apple IIe personal computer made its debut for $1,398, and Sturm, Ruger & Co. unveiled its Red Label over-under shotgun at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits for $480.

Much has changed since then.

From 1977 to 2011, the Red Label was the American-made over-under. Some loved it for its mechanical robustness and stock dimensions—reminiscent of Golden Age American classics—while others bought it to avoid being caught afield shooting a Japanese or Italian gun. There are also those who didn’t like the Red Label for the same reasons, citing clunkiness, a stock design more befitting of riflemen and poor wood-to-metal finish. Whatever your opinion, the gun performed the way Bill Ruger designed it; the way all Rugers did. The company’s first and by far most popular shotgun was the epitome of Ruger’s style, a style that’s famous for function over form. That style is finally changing, as evidenced by the company’s cutting-edge polymer LC-series pistols, its American rifle and now, the rebirth of the Red Label.

For the majority of its 75 years Ruger engineered robust steel guns designed to last indefinitely. Its manufacturing technique of casting the Red Label’s receiver from two pieces and welding them together won awards for innovation at that time. Perhaps its trigger didn’t inspire poetry, and maybe its lines more closely favored John Deere than a 1977 Olivia Newton John, but that was fine with Ruger, because he realized that many Americans have little use for a leathery two-seater with no trunk. For more than three decades, the Red Label held steadfastly to its working-man’s shotgun niche.

Problem is, customers who prefer pragmatism to aestheticism tend to also be money-conscious. With the early 21st century’s rising labor costs, the shotgun’s hand-fitted stock and action, two painstakingly regulated barrels and more parts than any piece in its catalog, the Red Label simply became too expensive to produce in its Newport, N.H., facility and remain competitive in the foreign-dominated market. The icon’s tomb slid shut as its price rose steadily in the face of a flagging economy. By 2011 a Red Label cost a bird-hunting man more than $2,000. What spare cash folks had for guns went to semi-automatic rifles and handguns—not to yesteryear’s bird gun—and so the all-American over-under with the flaming red Ruger logo was relegated to the large heap of guns that history forgot. More on the logo later.

Ruger Red Label

Ironically, the same tactical sales boom that buried the Red Label has resurrected it, because 2011, ’12 and ’13 brought windfall years to Ruger after it reinvented itself. “Our earnings nearly doubled from the first quarter of 2011, driven by the 49 percent growth in sales and our ongoing focus on continuous improvement in our operations,” wrote Ruger CEO Mike Fifer in a 2012 first quarter report. In fact, 2011-12 was so prosperous that Ruger became the first commercial gun company to build and ship more than 1 million guns in one year during its “Million Gun Challenge” that resulted in $1,253,700 donated to NRA. Surplus funds enabled Fifer to hire new engineers and marketers—and buy machinery—so the company could refocus on deficient areas in its product line. He hired Dwight Potter (of Browning’s edgy Cynergy project) whose mission was to not redesign the Red Label but to re-engineer it.

“Engineers looked at every single part of the gun, and if there was a better way to make its manufacture more efficient they redesigned that part or came up with another way to do it,” said Ruger Hunting Product Manager Craig Cushman. (Cushman was recently hired away from Smith & Wesson.)

So in 2013, Ruger officially re-launched the Red Label 12 gauge, with some manufacturing changes that allowed it to be made, once again, affordably and in Newport. It’s also gained subtle changes that Ruger says lend it more liveliness, all while still offering features that American hunters tend to like. Unlike the original release of the Red Label that broke tradition by introducing the 20 gauge first, the new model made its debut in 12 gauge,Red Label Shooting Resultslikely due to that platform’s broader appeal. Cushman says that while there is no definite date, the 20 gauge will happen—a claim I know to be true since I’ve shot it. But before we talk about the future, let’s review what’s currently available. After all, theory is great, but in reality how many parts can an engineer redesign to make the gun less expensive to produce without cheapening it?

What follows is a rundown of what Ruger did differently with the new Red Label, how it did it, and whether it accomplished its design goals.

In essence, the 12-ga. Red Label is a 7-lb., 8-oz., boxlock over-under with a steel receiver,
3″ chambers, single-selective trigger, automatic safety, screw-in choke tubes and a semi-pistol grip stock of American walnut. The fore-end is attached via a Deeley & Edge-style latch and is very trim, which I believe wingshooters benefit from because it allows the face, hands and eye the closest possible contact with the bore line.

The brushed-finish receiver is cast from stainless steel then machined in a CNC center. What results is a monolithic gun part that is not only produced much faster than with more traditional methods, but is so accurate from receiver to receiver that no handfitting is required to ensure precise lockup to the monobloc. This is the key to cost savings.

The CNC process shaves the comma-shaped trunnions and cut-outs in the breechface, through which a bifurcated, wedge-shaped locking bolt protrudes to bite bolting lugs that extend rearward from both sides of the monobloc when the action is closed. A top lever trip plunger in the breechface is depressed by the monobloc as it closes, allowing the stainless steel top lever and the locking bolt to enter their locked positions. A maximum receiver height of 2.41″ is 0.19″ taller than the old model. (The 20 gauge, while made exactly the same way, is built on a scaled-down frame measuring 2.24″ high.) That measurement includes the beginning of the barrel rib that is machined directly into the receiver for maximum sight plane radius and an aesthetically pleasing appearance when it mates to the barrel rib upon closing the action.

The receiver’s side walls flare to 0.27″ thick at the top for strength and decoration while tapering to 0.15″ for their remainder. Like the old receiver, it owns a surgical-clean look with no exposed pins, screws or clutter. One of the best ways to tell the old model from the new at a profile glance is at the rear edge of the receiver, where metal meets wood. With the barrels pointing to the right, the new model’s sidewall metal is angled slightly like a backslash on your keyboard (\), giving it a racier appearance than the squared receiver of old. The receiver’s belly features the guns’ engraved name, place of origin and the iconic Ruger logo.

The inside belly of the receiver features a machined recess that cradles a recoil lug on the monobloc that reduces stress on the trunnions when closed and grants the action rock-solid lockup. Four parallel holes (two on each side of the recess) provide the pathways through which twin square cocking rods pass. They anchor on the pivoting fore-end sears and use the gun’s opening leverage to pass through the bottom of the breechface and cock the hammers.

The receiver’s tang measures 33⁄8″ and arcs downward 0.7″ before terminating at the pistol grip’s wrist where it measures 413⁄16″ in diameter. The 1.0″ rectangle safety latch sports a stepped pyramid shape to facilitate its manipulation even with gloved hands. It consumes the last portion of the tang. Slid forward to fire, it is returned to the safe position either manually or automatically via an internal connector as the release lever is actuated. In my experience, bird hunters prefer automatic safeties while target shooters loathe them. Evidently Ruger thinks similarly. The tail-end of the safety pivots left and right to select either barrel for the first trigger pull. I found the selector slightly too easy to inadvertently switch during normal hunting activities.

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Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee

By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times

Citing Maryland’s recently enacted firearm laws and the prospect of more restrictions, the U.S. arm of legendary Italian gunmaker Beretta announced Tuesday that it would move its manufacturing operations to Tennessee next year.

The move makes Beretta the latest maker of guns or ammunition to move all or part of its operations to another state because of tightened gun control laws.

General Manager Jeff Cooper said an early version of a statute passed last year by the Maryland state Senate would have prohibited the company from manufacturing or storing products in the state.

“While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state,” Mr. Cooper said.

A number of states, especially those that are conservative and gun-friendly, approached the Italian company last year after officials expressed concern about strict gun laws in liberal-leaning Maryland.

Maryland and a number of other states enacted restrictions on certain models of military-style, semi-automatic weapons and ammunition magazine sizes in response to the Connecticut school shootings in December 2012 that killed 20 children and six educators.

Beretta isn’t the first firearms manufacturer to seek a friendlier political climate. Magpul Industries Corp., which makes firearms accessories, announced in January that it would relocate from Erie, Colorado, to Texas and Wyoming. It’s move was a response to sweeping gun control bills signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

Another Colorado company, HiViz Shooting Systems, revealed in May 2013 that it would move its operations from Fort Collins to Laramie, Wyoming.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, signed tougher gun control legislation in April 2013, prompted firearms manufacturer PTR Industries Inc. of Bristol to announce a relocation.

Colt Competition, which manufactures high-end AR-15 rifles, announced in April 2013 that it would move from Oregon to North Texas.

In Beretta’s case, the company said it had no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from its facility in the Prince George’s County community of Accokeek.

Beretta originally planned to use the Gallatin, Tennessee, facility only for new equipment and production of new product lines.

Beretta employs some 400 people and expects to create another 300 jobs at the Tennessee plant, slated for completion in the middle of next year. Investment in construction and equipment is expected to be $45 million.

A spokesman for Prince George’s County expressed disappointment about Beretta’s decision but said the county would continue to pursue business and job opportunities for all residents, including more than $4.3 billion of development in the pipeline.

“If there were any issues that the county could have addressed to keep Beretta here, you can be sure that we would have addressed them immediately,” spokesman Scott Peterson said.

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BREAKING: Obama Administration Bans Import of Izhmash & Kalashnikov (Saiga) Firearms

IMG_1058_exportr

Earlier today, the Department of Commerce announced new sanctions against Russian products and companies operating in the United States. Previous sanctions only tangentially impacted the import of cheap and reliable firearms from Russia into the United States, but now the Obama administration is specifically targeting the makers of Saiga rifles and shotguns, as well as other companies. From the Executive Order. . .

 

The following entities have been added to OFAC’s SDN List:

[...]

KALASHNIKOV CONCERN (a.k.a. CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; a.k.a. IZHEVSKIY MASHINOSTROITEL’NYI ZAVOD OAO; f.k.a. IZHMASH R&D CENTER; f.k.a. JSC NPO IZHMASH; f.k.a. NPO IZHMASH OAO; a.k.a. OJSC CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; f.k.a. OJSC IZHMASH; f.k.a. SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION IZHMASH JOINT STOCK COMPANY), 3, Derjabin Pr., Izhevsk, Udmurt Republic 426006, Russia; Registration ID 1111832003018 [UKRAINE2].

So the importation of new Izmash-produced firearms is now banned indefinitely in the United States. But that executive order definitely raises some questions for those currently in possession of a firearm manufactured by the now-sanctioned firearms companies. For example, can a gun dealer sell their existing stock? From the FAQ regarding the legality of items already in the United States:

374. If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions? Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market?

If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction. New transactions by U.S. persons with Kalashnikov Concern are prohibited, however, and any property in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest is blocked pursuant to OFAC’s designation of Kalashnikov Concern on July 16, 2014. If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory. [7-16-2014]

375. If I have Kalashnikov products in my inventory, can I sell them?

If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory. [7-16-2014]

We all saw this coming, but the reality is always more confusing and distasteful than the perception. There is no word at this time whether additional Russian firearms related manufacturers will get the same treatment.

GOOGLE TO BLOCK FIREARM, AMMUNITION, GUN ACCESSORY ADS

Beginning in September, Google plans to block firearm, ammunition, and gun accessory ads.

According to Google Support’s “Dangerous Products or Services” page, the company “[wants] to keep people safe both online and offline, so [they] won’t allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury.”

Included in the dangerous products for which ads will be blocked are “Guns & Parts.” This covers “functional devices that appear to discharge a projectile at high velocity, whether for sport, self-defense, or combat.”

Also included is a ban on ads for “any part or component that’s necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun.” This covers “gun scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts.”

The ban will also halt ads for “dangerous knives… throwing stars, brass knuckles, [and] crossbows,” among other things.

Google Support says the ads that will be banned “are subject to change.”

 

Source

Gun Rights ALERT: Calif. SB 53 ammunition ban moving forward

It is CRITICAL that you contact the members of the California Assembly RIGHT NOW and urge them to OPPOSE this outrageous violation of your Second Amendment gun rights!

You can send a letter opposing SB 53 using our TAKE ACTION pro-gun activism tools at DemandRights.org.

SB 53 would:

  • Ban private sales and transfers of ammunition.
  • Effectively ban online ammo sales.
  • Create a registration database of all ammunition vendors, purchasers, and purchases — then connect that information for a total backdoor gun registry.
  • Mandate that gun owners obtain a costly, time-consuming annual license from anti-gun Attorney General Kamala Harris and DOJ in order to buy ammo.
  • Eliminate thousands of existing ammunition retailers across the state.
  • Significantly increase the cost for law-abiding people to buy ammunition from select “state-approved” vendors.
  • Eradicate thousands of good jobs in the hunting, shooting, and outdoors industries.
  • Cost millions of dollars in lost state and local tax revenues.
  • Exempt a massive new regulatory implementation by the Department of Justice from the Administrative Procedure Act and public scrutiny.

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